Another camera club season and another season of mainly lows and criticism directed at the Judge! For those who don’t know, let me give you an insight into “Camera Club World” The stereotypically scene of a camera club is full of dirty old men! Well, there is that to a certain extent. However younger members are taking part as they try to improve their photography. Many younger members come and go as other commitments take precedence. The “retired folk” remain. I think it’s a great way for these people to keep their minds occupied, keep being creative and it in some cases, get out of the house into the outdoors in pursuit of their hobby. Elements of the camera club revolve around lecturers, competitions and improvement techniques mainly in post processing. It’s the competitions which cause much debate. Typically these are judged by a federation judge. Each area of the country has a photographic federation which camera clubs in that area are affiliated to. There is a circuit of judges and lecturers attributed to each federation. It’s these judges that turn up week in week out to camera clubs up and down the land to judge members’ images. Therefore the competition is based on their opinion. So in many respects, it is judgmental and involves an element of luck. The fact remains that what we would deem to be the best images do not necessarily win!!
So onto the judging itself. For the majority of the time, each judge talks sense. A lot is clearly common sense in terms of taking a picture… but here’s where the majority of them fall down. If you were a referee you would never show your allegiance to a particular type of player or club, so why o why to judges “show their hand” and proclaim their favouritism to either landscapes, wildlife, portraiture, etc. Judges – your favourite subjects should NEVER be discussed. It puts the mindset of the camera club member in a spin. Keep your cards close to your chest so that each image can be judged on its merits without bias or extra emotion. Additionally, judges are inconsistent. This is really frustrating and often their winning selections differ to what they’ve discussed about each image previously. Very frustrating for club members. It’s a thankless task being a judge but please stick to the rules and be consistent. That’s all we ask and maybe, just maybe, the best images will be victorious.